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For the fifth day of the marathon, I am posting almond vanilla cookies from Amulya’s blog, a pastry chef from Melbourne, Australia. When planning for the marathon and making a list of chocolate recipes to post, I remembered her blog. I was meaning to cook something from her blog for the past one month and have been procrastinating. I decided to bake Almond Vanilla White Chocolate cookies as it goes with my marathon theme. She baked these cookies from a cookbook her friend had gifted her. I baked the cookies last Friday, picked out the pictures for the post and all I had to do was compose the draft and the recipe. And there is a reason why I chose to post the recipe today, although I could have posted it yesterday, after a bad day in the kitchen.
I met Amulya in an online community almost 4 years ago. She was a very sweet, hardworking, determined and down to earth woman with a cute small. She was full of life, energy and up for any challenge that life threw at her. I never met her personally and my only interaction with her was in this online community and on Facebook, commenting on status updates and photos. She got busy at work, left the community and stopped updating her blog. She was active on Facebook and it was the only medium to know a little of what was happening in her life. She was always outspoken about her rheumatoid arthritis and how difficult it was getting for her, as she had to be on her feet all day, due to her profession, a pastry chef. She had a few health issues but nothing serious, so we (virtual friends from this community) thought.
Last month, on Dec 28, we were shocked to learn about her demise and were awestruck! She had passed away the day before. She was young, in her early 30s and none of us knew how serious her health condition was. Three four months ago, she went back to India on her parents insistence to get herself treated and we all thought she was getting better. Apparently not! 🙁 The irony of all this is, she came from a family of doctors, her parents (I think even her mother is a doctor) and both her siblings are doctors and yet, she could not be saved. The news of her demise was shocking and I was even more shocked at how much it had impacted me. It took me almost 5 days to come out of this shock. Every few hours I went to her Facebook profile hoping someone would say this is all a rumor and she is doing fine. I wish it were a rumor and unfortunately it wasn’t! Each time I saw her FB wall, the sadder I became. Yet, I would go back an hour later wishing to hear some good news. Even though I never met her, I was amazed and shocked at my own reaction to her death, and was surprised how much it had disturbed me. I wish and pray to god to give her parents & family enough strength to get over this terrible, untimely lose. I also wish I had baked these cookies sooner to let Amulya know how much I liked them. I know your are watching from somewhere out there and are thrilled to know someone on this planet has tried your recipe! 🙂 Where ever you are Amu, rest in peace! We all miss you!
Today is one month anniversary of her passing away and I decided to post this recipe today, as tribute to her. I also baked Foccacia bread from her blog few years ago.
Coming to the recipe, I followed the recipe exactly as given and the cookies came out perfect, melted in mouth as soon as I took a bite! The only glitch I had during the baking was figuring out the baking time. The recipe called for baking for 20 minutes and my first batch of cookies burnt. The second batch, I baked for 13 ½ minutes and the cookies baked perfect. Amu did mention that if we are using a fan operated oven, we ought to reduce the oven temperature but I don’t know if my oven is fan operated. I think that was the mistake I made. I should have baked at 325 F (160 C) for 20 minutes or should have baked for 13 ½ minutes at 350 F (180 C). This proves the statement oven temperatures vary from oven to oven.
Source: Amu’s Crazy World
Total Time: 40 – 45 (for 2 batches)
Preparation: 10 – 15 minutes
Baking: 28 minutes (13 ½ minutes per batch)
- 125 grams Unsalted Butter softened (I left it on counter top for 2 hours)
- 1 cup Superfine Sugar
- 1 Egg at room temperature
- 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
- ½ tsp. Salt
- 125 grams White Chocolate Chips
- 60 grams Sliced Almonds (can use silvered almonds or whole almonds sliced)
- 1 ¾ cup Self Raising Flour**
** I substituted I cup Self Raising Flour with 1 cup All Flour Purpose + 1 ½ tsp. Baking Powder + ¼ tsp. Salt. Substitution ratio from Joy of Baking
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Line the baking / cookie sheet with baking / parchment paper.
- Sift together flour and salt. I did not have self-rising flour and made it at home with the ratios mentioned above **. I made 2 cups of flour and used 1 ¾ cup for the recipe. I found this was easier than calculating the ratios for making ¾ cup self-rising flour.
- Take soften butter and sugar in a bowl and beat it using and electric beater. I used my hand held electric beater/mixer. Beat it until the mixture is fluffy and pale.
- Add egg and vanilla extract and beat well to incorporate the egg. Do not over beat the mixture.
- Add self-rising flour and fold in using a spoon or a spatula.
- Add the chocolate chips and mix well. At this point, I wound it easy to use my hands to mix the dough.
- Make 30 equal size balls and place them on the cookie sheet an inch apart. These cookies raise a lot when baking. Also, I lightly pressed the balls to flatten them. Press just lightly. This step can be skipped, as we will be doing this step again.
- Bake in the pre-heated oven for 8 minutes (recipe said 10 minutes).
- Lightly press the cookies, with very little pressure using your finger tips and put them bake in the oven to bake for another 5 ½ minutes (recipe called for 10 minutes).
- The cookies are done when they are light golden color. The other way to check if the cookie is done is, when you lift the cookie off the baking sheet, it should come off without breaking.
- Remove them from the cookie sheet and cool on a cooling rack.
- Serve when cool and store the rest in an air tight container.
- As I mentioned, oven temperatures vary from oven to oven. The recipe called for 20 minutes of baking but mine were done in 13 ½ minutes. Please use your discretion here.
- I am cut & pasting Amu’s note. “Please Note: The Oven Types and Temperatures vary for each and every one of us… So please bake them accordingly… If using a Fan-forced oven the temperature should reduced by 20*C (i.e 160*C). But the tip to check if your biscuits or cookies are done is given above so varying oven temperatures should not be a Problem…:-)“
Recipes posted this day in 2011: Mushroom Masala
Recipes posted this month: in 2009, in 2010 & in 2011.
Blogging Marathon: Checkout more about this marathon and my blogging buddies on Srivalli’s Blogging Marathon Page.
Event Entries: Sending these cookies to Srivalli’s Chocolate Mela, Pradnya’s Bake Fest # 3, an event started by Vardhini and to Srav’s Cooking Concepts # 6: Chocolate Fest.